ASSEMBLY, No. 2787

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 1, 2018

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman† RONALD S. DANCER

District 12 (Burlington, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean)

Assemblyman† BOB ANDRZEJCZAK

District 1 (Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland)

Assemblyman† ERIC HOUGHTALING

District 11 (Monmouth)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Extends pilot program authorizing special occasion events at wineries on preserved farmland; implements reporting requirement.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† As introduced.

††


An Act concerning special occasion events at certain wineries and supplementing P.L.2014, c.16.

 

†††† Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

†††† 1.††† Notwithstanding the provisions of section 6 of P.L.2014, c.16 to the contrary, sections 1 through 5 of P.L.2014, c.16 (C.4:1C-32.7 through C.4:1C-32.11) shall be and remain in effect for two years following the enactment of P.L.††† , c.†† (C.†††††† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), and shall be retroactive to March 1, 2018.

 

††††† 2.†† a.†† Each county agriculture development board shall prepare and submit to the Governor and to the Legislature, pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), an annual report.† Each annual report shall include findings that summarize the activities of wineries on preserved farmland in the county of the boardís jurisdiction and make recommendations for the pilot program established pursuant to P.L.2014, c.16 (C.4:1C-32.7 et seq.).

††††† †b.† The State Agriculture Development Committee shall prepare and submit to the Governor and to the Legislature, pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1):

††††† (1)† an interim report, within 30 days following the enactment of P.L.††† , c.†† (C.†††††† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill); and

††††† (2)† a final report, at least 45 days before the expiration of the pilot program established pursuant to P.L.2014, c.16 (C.4:1C-32.7 et seq.).

††††† †c.† The interim and final reports required pursuant to subsection b. of this section shall review the implementation and operation of the pilot program established pursuant to P.L.2014, c.16 (C.4:1C-32.7 et seq.), summarize the findings and recommendations of the annual reports prepared pursuant to subsection a. of this section, and make recommendations to the Governor and Legislature to amend, extend, or make permanent the program.

 

†††† 3.††† This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

†††† This bill amends current law to continue the pilot program allowing special occasion events that promote agricultural tourism to be conducted at wineries on preserved farmland for an additional two years, at a minimum, and requires periodic reports.†

†††† Under P.L.2014, c.16 (C.4:1C-32.7 et seq.), special occasion †events are only authorized to be conducted at wineries on preserved farmland as part of a pilot program that expires March 1, 2018.† This bill extends the pilot program provisions, consistent with the existing requirements established by law, from March 1, 2018 until two years following this billís enactment.† Under the bill, the pilot program would expire no earlier than March 1, 2020, and this extension would prevent any interruption of program operations.

††††† This bill amends the law establishing the pilot program to implement reporting requirements.† A county agriculture development board (CADB) would prepare and submit annual reports, and the State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC) would prepare and submit an interim and final report concerning the pilot program.† The SADCís interim and final reports would include the findings and recommendations of the CADBsí annual reports required to be submitted under the bill, and make recommendations to the Governor and Legislature to amend, extend, or make permanent the program.† The interim report would be submitted within 30 days of this billís enactment, and the final report would be submitted at least 45 days before the expiration of the pilot program.† The final report would be submitted before the pilot programís expiration in order to ensurse that any program concerns could be considered and addressed before the program ceases to operate.

††††† As initially passed in both chambers of the Legislature, with near-unanimous votes, Senate Bill No. 837 of 2014-2015 would have authorized special occasion events that promote agricultural tourism to be conducted at wineries under certain circumstances, regardless of preservation status and without expiration.† In response to the Governorís conditional veto, the Legislature adopted changes to Senate Bill No. 837, subsequently enacted as P.L.2014, c.16, which established the 44-month pilot program authorizing a special occasion event to be conducted at a winery on preserved farmland.† The Governorís veto message omitted a reporting requirement, and ultimately the programís continuance is now at risk due to its imminent expiration.

†††† With the notable increased production of wine and grapes, combined with amplified recognition on the national and global stage for award-winning wines, New Jersey joins the upper echelon of wine-producing states.† The full economic impact of New Jersey wine and vineyards in 2016 totaled more than $232 million, according to ďThe Economic Impact of New Jersey Wine and Vineyards Ė 2016,Ē published in December 2017.† A key finding of the report indicated that non-wine revenue from weddings and other events resulted in wineries generating $2.3 million, which is approximately one percent of the $237 million total revenue generated by wineries in 2016, and far from rivaling the direct wine sales on a winery premises, which amounted to $25.4 million.† Comparatively, in 2011, non-wine revenue generated $1.5 million of the $173 million total revenue (roughly 0.09 percent), and was still unmatched by the direct wine sales of $18.2 million.† This research reveals that revenue related to ancillary events conducted at wineries is steadily increasing, benefitting wineries and the tourism industry in the State as a whole.† The statistics quell any concerns that the primary function of farms is threatened by, or secondary to, agricultural tourism activities and events that market and advance agricultural output.† The reportís findings demonstrate the inherent link between agriculture, tourism, and events supporting the economic prosperity of wineries.

†††† This bill protects and sustains the agricultural output of farms and supports the work of wineries so they may continue producing high-quality wines and attracting residents and visitors alike to experience their vineyards and spaces as a destination.† Accordingly, the bill expands the opportunities for, and likelihood of, people exploring the Garden State and its unique wine regions, which has a positive economic impact on the State as a whole.

†††† It is the sponsorís intent to further the progress of the burgeoning wine industry in New Jersey and protect the livelihood of all farms that comprise the Stateís agricultural industry.† It is crucial to avert uncertainty as to whether events scheduled to be conducted at wineries are to remain or be cancelled or rescheduled due to the pilot programís expiration.† Eliminating the looming pilot program expiration, by continuing to allow these events, will benefit wineries and farms, agricultural tourism and the Stateís tourism industry generally, as well as all people who may discover the Garden State and its fruitful agricultural tourism offerings as a result of attending a special occasion event, such as a wedding or other lifetime milestone event.† The sponsor wishes to avoid any interruption in the events conducted at wineries that could affect the livelihood of people, like brides, grooms, families, and other celebrants, in addition to all of the jobs and workers who diligently make any event Ė from harvest festivals to retirement parties Ė a memorable and cherished one.